For this paper, I chose to discuss the barriers managers face in facilitating team decision-making. This topic interests me because of an unpleasant job situation I experienced where ineffective team decision-making was prevalent. Several years ago, I was the pianist for a church music band. At this church, which I will call Eureka Fellowship (EF), the music team’s decision-making process was fraught with problems and low-quality decisions abounded. Hence, this paper examines what went wrong and how modern management theories could have been applied to promote quality decision-making and team effectiveness.
Evaluation Apprehension & Pressure to Conform
One major barrier to effective decision-making within teams occurs when members are afraid to make suggestions because of evaluation apprehension. They worry that other people will silently critique their ideas; hence, valuable suggestions are often never voiced.
This was exactly the situation I faced while on the EF music team. For example, the team culture was one in which contemporary music was presented as the only desirable type of music. Members frequently expressed distain for those who preferred traditional music. This group norm caused me to struggle internally about my desire to play traditional hymns. I was afraid to make suggestions not because I thought others would shoot my ideas down verbally, but because I feared what others would think of my opinion. Therefore, I protected my self-esteem by keeping quiet and not participating in decision-making.
Similarly, another barrier to team decision-making is pressure to conform to the prevailing norms. Often, members feel that if they share an idea contrary to what the team usually comes up with, the individual will be attacked by the team and pressured to change his position.
This problem was also present in the group dynamics of the EF music team, as anyone who preferred or suggested traditional music was pressured to change his mind. For...